Local officials warn Great Neck community about becoming a coronavirus cluster

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Local officials stressed the importance of following COVID-19 health and safety measures to avoid areas such as Great Neck becoming coronavirus hotspots. (Screenshot by Robert Pelaez)

Government officials throughout Nassau County joined together, on paper, and underscored the importance of abiding by state-mandated health precautions as areas such as Great Neck are on their way to becoming a hotspot for the virus to flourish.

The message was a joint effort between Nassau County, the Town of North Hempstead, and the nine villages throughout the Great Neck peninsula.

The letter was signed by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Legislator Ellen Birnbaum (D-Great Neck), Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Town Councilmember Veronica Lurvey, Town Councilmember Lee Seeman, Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral, Village of Kings Point Mayor Michael Kalnick, Village of Saddle Rock Mayor Dan Levy, Village of Great Neck Estates Mayor William Warner, Village of Kensington Mayor Susan Lopatkin, Village of Great Neck Plaza Mayor Ted Rosen, Village of Thomaston Mayor Steven Weinberg, Village of Russell Gardens Mayor David Miller, and Village of Lake Success Mayor Adam Hoffman.

Recent upticks in virus cases in Queens and Brooklyn prompted the letter, as the proximity Great Neck shares to those communities is possibly a reason for an increased amount of confirmed cases throughout the peninsula.

“We do not want to be the next cluster, and we must work together to ensure that our community remains vigilant against the spread of COVID-19,” the letter said. “The health and safety of our residents, your families, neighbors, and friends is our top priority…”

According to data from the Nassau County Department of Health, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the Great Neck peninsula continues to increase at a higher rate than in most other villages in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Village of Great Neck increased by 11, from 321 on Oct. 7 to 332 as of Wednesday morning, according to the data.

On the peninsula, Kings Point, the Village of Great Neck, Kensington, University Gardens, Saddle Rock, Great Neck Estates and Harbor Hills each have a daily increase of 0.2 or more cases on a seven-day average per 1,000 residents, according to county data.  The only other areas in Nassau County with figures that high are Lawrence, Inwood, Cedarhurst, Lido Beach, Woodmere and North Lynbrook.

Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral implored residents to abide by the state-mandated health and safety protocols, including wearing a mask or face covering and social distancing.

“We have been able to come back to some normalcy here, but that can go away if we become complacent,” Bral said during an Oct. 6 Board of Trustees meeting. “Please make sure to use your common sense and heed to the advice of the physicians and listen to the scientists.”

Kings Point has become another area in the Great Neck peninsula with a recent spike of coronavirus cases. From Sept. 1 to Sept. 30, the village saw an increase of 27 cases, to 168. In the last two weeks, that number has increased by 27, from 168 to 195 as of Wednesday morning, according to Health Department statistics.

“As Village of Kings Point officials do everything possible to protect the health and safety of residents, citizens are urged to continue to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, practicing social distancing, washing their hands often and wearing masks when it’s necessary to leave the house,” a public notice on the village’s website reads.

Village officials declined to comment on the matter.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would meet with officials from communities with “hot spot ZIP codes” over the coming days.  Cuomo also said on Monday that religious institutions have been “a problem” in terms of trying to contain the spread of the virus.

“We know there have been mass gatherings going on in concert with religious institutions in these communities for weeks,” Cuomo said. “Religious institutions are mass gatherings and raise the greatest potential.”

Cuomo clarified that the religious gatherings applied to all religions rather than specific groups, but said he planned to meet with members of the “ultra-Orthodox” community.

“Whether it’s the Jewish community, whether we’re talking about Black churches, whether we’re talking about Roman Catholic churches, the religious community has to agree to the rules and they have to agree that they are going to follow the rules,” Cuomo said.

Officials throughout the county also brought up the new COVID Alert NY app, which allows residents to detect when another phone, with the downloaded app, is within six feet.  People with the app on their phone will receive an alert if they have come in contact with someone that has tested positive. The app, according to officials, does not track your GPS location.

“This important app is part of our continued joint effort to contain the spread and keep New Yorkers informed,” the letter said.

Officials said if people wish to report a planned gathering or gathering that has randomly commenced, to call the county police, fire marshal, or certain village police forces, such as the ones in Great Neck Estates, Kings Point, Kensington, and Lake Success.

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